A Wall Street career is arguably every aspiring financier’s dream. Blue-chips, expensive buildings, fancy offices are magnet-like. Or maybe not? This is the question that Michael Chang, who leads the Wachsman Strategic Advisory Group, poses, as he explains why uncertain futures in blockchain startups rule the day.
“There’s a first-of-its-kind trend happening right now on Wall Street. Top executives from the world’s leading multinationals, including the Big Four, are showing signs of a mass exodus from old-school investment banking and consulting for a chance to join the blockchain startup movement,” he writes.
Thus, Matt Huang, Capital Partner of Sequoia, announced that he will create a cryptocurrency fund. Before that, Amber Baldet, J.P. Morgan Chase’s Blockchain Executive, had left her company in order to create a decentralized app store Clovyr. Her former colleague Chris Matta, an ex-Vice-President of Goldman Sachs, also called it quits and decided to start a crypto asset management firm. Then there is Chang himself who used to work at Jefferies Technology Investment Banking.
“I have now launched the Strategic Advisory Group at blockchain professional services firm Wachsman, along with Franklin Bi, former Vice President and Blockchain Strategy Lead at J.P. Morgan,” he notes.
So the big question is why? Why would you opt to work with things that are still highly questionable and uncertain? Chang points to the fact that the cryptomarket is slowly being structured. Hence, there exists a formal classification of crypto assets and exchanges. At the same time, the regulatory bodies across the world are beginning to take a stance on the matter. One might rightly note that it is not always a positive one, at least from a perspective of a crypto enthusiast. Think India or Austria.
But there is some good news as well. For instance, that the SEC declassified Ethereum and BTC as securities. Chang says that the crypto public received this decision well. That, in turn, elevated the spirit regarding the industry’s future. And top-talents have realized its potential “that blockchain technology presents a unique opportunity to remain ahead of an ever-changing curve.”
“In 2017, blockchain jobs tripled, and 2018 is showing no signs of slowing down — with the first half of the year seeing a flight of young traders from Wall Street, choosing career paths away from traditional firms,” Chang writes. There are indeed new blockchain jobs emerging.
What is even more attractive is that crypto projects attract investors within minutes, if not seconds. To compare: payment processor Square needed three years ” to reach a $1 billion USD market valuation,” while Coinbase required less than a year to be valued at $8 billion. Now, it has also secured a gargantuan investment worth $20 bln.
“Many corporate executives recognize this monumental growth, and are frustrated with the speed at which Fortune 500 companies are approaching blockchain and cryptocurrency — instead wanting to lead the charge from the ground up,” Chang notes.
The rumor has it that Wall Street might even inject tens of trillion dollars into the cryptomarket. And yet money is not everything. Chang believes that the top talents are not choosing the industry solely because it has more dollars to offer. They are attracted to the idea itself, as blockchain presents a once-in-a-generation, as he characterizes it, chance to do a thing which is actually positive. Something which will improve the lives of many and will lead to a greater transparency and accountability as well heightened data security.
“The real-world applications for blockchain are seemingly endless,” he says. And then adds that soon blockchain is poised to disrupt many other industries including supply chain, gaming, social media, and health. Perhaps even traveling.
“With the greatest technological leap forward since the internet on the horizon, it’s likely more and more industry leaders will stake their traditional positions for an opportunity to explore blockchain’s expanding universe of opportunity and innovation,” he concludes.